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We don't usually do gruesome costumes, but I justified this and gave Owen a lesson on the Ancient Egyptian burial practices.  :P

He is OBSESSED with mummies, in the same way that he is obsessed with superheroes and spiders.  It's usually a love-hate thing, and total fascination.  Jonny was the cutest cowboy ever, and literally got TWICE as much candy as everyone else because he would tip his hat and say Yeehaw!  Love it!

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My little Mia -- here with her cousin Paige, Owen and Jonny -- was a kitty cat like none other.

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Elena was a Steeler's cheerleader.  Some people said, "Oh .... I'm sorry.  We don't give candy to Steelers fans."  Darn Bengals fans!  They gave it to her anyway, probably because she was so cute.  And some gave her two pieces because of her Steeler Nation status.  :-)

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Hope was a beautiful bridesmaid.  She doesn't know that I know ithis idea for a costume she had was just a ploy to get this beautiful dress in her closet.  :)-

Noelle was at a party and I missed a photo of her (Dude, my camera was broken that night and I was relying on other's charity!), and Julia didn't do much in the way of dressing up ...  What can I say, I'm a bad mom!!!  (I am going to try to get her to dress up again and snap one of her.)

 
 
 
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Voting

11/02/2009

1 Comment

 
My kids and I have been discussing what I knew about the Issues on the Ohio ballot, but tonight was the real discussion.  I had to look up the details to a few, and involved them in my research.  it was fascinating to watch my critical thinkers ask the following about Issue 1 (which proposes an amendment to the Ohio Constitution to give a bonus to vets of the Gulf conflicts of a decade ago).  Some of their questions were:

How much money are they proposing Ohio borrow?
How long will it take to pay it off?
How much are the vets and families getting?
What is the financial status of Ohio at this time?
Is this something that governments do (asking about precedent here)?
How will it get paid back?
Is Ohio the position to be going into debt over this?

I was so impressed!  It was fascinating to watch their sharp minds really, really think through these issues and the ramifications of government involvement.  I wonder how many people vote without having done their research, or who cannot think through all details and effects of proposed issues? 

We also discussed Issue 2, of which i am fairly well informed.  (Vote NO!)  It was a good chance to teach my kids when something that has merit must be sent back the drawing board because the solution is poorly laid out and ripe for corruption.  It was a great opportunity to show them that we voters are not forced to accept what is put in front of us, or else succumb to the fear that proponents invariably incite in order to push their agenda.  Say no, and tell them to come back with something acceptable!

I hope you'll vote on Tuesday, after having educated yourself on the issues.  The only thing more dangerous than citizens who don't vote is voting citizens who are not informed enough to know that they are cattle being herded into the booths to vote the agenda of whichever group of people has the most amount of money.
 
 

This place was amazing!

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Family photo in front of Really Fast Car.


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She did it!


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So did the Shrunken Head Girl.


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Flying on a jet plane.


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Sitting in a jet engine!


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Running the submarine.


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Clowning around.


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This is so Elena -- helping Owen.


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LEGOS!
 
 

We met up with friends one of the days in Chicago, but unfortunately didn't manage to get a photo with all of us.  If you notice an extra kid in some of the photos, you're not imagining it!

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Illicit photo in a race car.


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Matt's new passion -- racing go-carts.  He won!

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Speed Racer & kids.


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Rainforest Cafe.


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Noelle and Jordan


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REAL FISH!
 
 

The Lincoln Park Zoo was beautiful and FREE!  (I hate it that modern culture makes me see 'Linkin Park' in my head ... grrr!)

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Family photo taken with our "ancestors" in the background - the zebras!


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Blue Lagoon.


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Reindeer!


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Me and my 'twins'


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Little kids.


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Buncha' monkeys.


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Taken by one of the little kids.


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Hatchlings
 
 

Our 4 days in Chicago were exhausting and fun, the highlight being the beach for me, of course.  It was surprisingly aqua-colored and clean, and for a moment I could pretend I was back in Hilton Head.  Is that wrong, fantasizing about one vacation when you are on another?

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Braving the cold water together.

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Braving the deep, cold water together.


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Cutie patootie.


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Points if you can find the "that's so Matt" part of this photo.

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OK, I'm very sorry for the eyeball scars on this one, but I just had to document it because it was just so unbelievable.  This was the one bad thing about the beach -- families that lack etiquette.  She is -- you guessed it -- cleaning and clipping his toenails on the beach!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Quick, grab the barf bag!  Ugh!
 
 
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Julia


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Gypsy for a day.


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Pool fun


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Roasting Peanut.


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Jennifer Aniston look-alike.


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Tire swing.


 
 

Following is a lesson in the difference between boys and girls that I'm just now learning, since it took me so long to have boys.  I just LOVE little boys.


Owen
: Mom, an I gonna die? (pointing to himself)
Me: Well, we're all going to die someday, but you'll probably be old.
Owen: But if I ate five sugars, will I die?
Me: No.  Sugar can make you sick if you eat too much, but you're not going to die.  Why?  Who told you that?  Where did you hear about it?
Owen:  Nowhere.  I just went in the pantry and I stealed some sugar, and I want to know if I'n gonna die.
Me: You did?  Can you show me?
Owen:  Sure.  Here.  An' I sweeped all these crumbs away so you wouldn't see them.

Now, in my experience, most girls wouldn't be quiiiiite this forthright.  They have so many good qualities, but in this particular category (that being "candor"), there probably would have been a lot more song and dance.  Makes me want to hug my big sweetie, because he so much the same way about admitting his faults.  He's just a grown up little boy.  There really are so many good things about guys, aren't there?

 
 

There is a wonderful phenomenon that happens at our house, more and more.  It has a lot to do with the kids getting older, but homeschooling has certainly encouraged it.  It's the simple wonders of dinnertime conversations.

Matt is the guy who usually gets things started.  His family homeschooled, and are all geniuses, so it's not hard to visualize their dinnertime conversations.  You had kindergarten aged children talking about how the price of peanut butter had risen (true story), and 5th graders talking about a community issue that he read about in the local paper.  At first it intimidated me, going to dinner at their house, until I realized I could just be a lurker, sitting quietly and just absorbing.  Over the years, I think I've actually gotten smarter, being married to Matt (balanced out by the fact that all the pregnancies have made me dumber), and I'm glad to know that he will be doing the same for my kids.  It's too much pressure knowing that all their learning is on your shoulders!

These great conversations often come up because Matt asked someone what they are learning in Science or History, or because someone's questioning mind wonders out loud.  One question always leads to another, and another, and either Matt or I will explain.  Most of the time, their curiosity exceeds the time that it takes for eating, or the span of attention of the boys, so sometimes "class" is abruptly stopped.  But it's a beautiful thing to see a thought germinate and sprout into a tiny plant of of an idea.  It's so rewarding to see that they comprehend and appreciate the explanation, prompting more questions, but it's also beneficial when we have to stop the conversation and they are encouraged to go find more information on their own.  It always does my heart proud.

Last night dinnertime was a little more dull at first -- energy was flagging and some of the tweens (and the mom) had been  cranky during the day.  Julia finished eating early and asked to be excused before the rest of us were finished, but I jokingly told her that if she left I would miss her.  Matt woke up from Blackberry Land at this point, and drew her in.  He was asking her about her day and trying to get her to talk, which she wasn't too much in the mood for.  So Matt really turned on the charm and started talking about extemporaneous speeches.  (Hey, I never said the man was normal.)  He explained to the girls that many, many people that he works with cannot do it, and would really benefit themselves if they could.  So he went first, and each of the older kids had a turn giving a 2 minute extemporaneous speech on the topic of her choice.

Not only was I amazed at their speeches, but I was amazed that there were speeches.  Would you have done this as a child?  I certainly would not!  But Matt was able to work his usual magic, and suddenly I heard a speech on Hope's love of all aspects of horses, included a brief description of their care and tack.  Julia spoke about what lead her to start writing her novel.  Elena, who is the only girl in both Tennis and Taekwondo in our house, spoke about the similiarities between the two sports, and Noelle spoke about her love of Taekwondo, using the phrase "a 'form' is a pattern of movements that help you learn different techniques in TaeKwondo."  (She's only 8!)  Unbelievable!

I know my face was smiling, and was probably beaming.  But here's one thing Matt probably didn't suspect, however .... he doesn't know that the whole time, this teacher/mom was hoping the that he wouldn't call on her next!  :-)